Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blessed :)

This post is not about my artwork, but simply a moment in my life that I had to share. Working my second day at a part time job, I  had routinely helped a customer out. Thinking nothing more of it than, he was a kind older gentleman who I was happy to help. He said thank you, smiled, and I went on my way to put away merchandise. Less than a minute later he approached me with this folded piece of paper .......

As he opened it he said, "Thank you for all your help :) ," and I saw this wonderful paper cut art unfold before my very eyes!!! I was speechless to say the least and felt so blessed that he was handing it to me. In that short amount of time, he had created this beautiful little bird taking flight right off the page! It turns out that he is a local paper cut artist.  I regret not having a pen to write down his name, because a busy day caused me to forget it. One thing is for certain, even if I don't find him again, I will never forget this moment and the way it filled my heart with never-ending love and joy :)

 "So speak kind to a stranger
cause you'll never know
it just might be an angel come
knockin' at your door
knockin' at your door"
-Ben Harper

Monday, October 10, 2011

Home Sweet Home

A recent house portrait commissioned by a good friend as a wedding gift for her groom. The house that they have worked so hard to make into a home. She asked for his favorite maple tree to be the only thing in color. I thought it was a wonderful and unique gift and was very happy to be a part of their special day.

8" x 10" archival ink pen and watercolor

Friday, September 23, 2011

Shelter From The Storm

Today, Fall officially begins!! Which of course was the inspiration for today's drawing. And although it's been raining all day, it reminded me of what a perfect season it is to stay warm and snuggle up with the ones you love! :)
8" x 10"    

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

LYS Sports Academy Jackets

This post is one I've been wanting to share for some time now. A few years back I created a character design for a local volleyball club. They had asked me to come up with a "logo" type design, using a popular Ukrainian  character named "Lys Mykyta". Lys is the Ukrainian word for fox, and the character is based on the famous fairytale by the legendary Ukrainian writer Ivan Franko. The logo appears on the teams website as well as embroidered on jackets worn by the players in the league. As an illustrator it is always neat to see your artwork reproduced and in this case seeing it so nicely embroidered on the jackets was great!

"Lys Mykyta"

LYS Sports Academy Jackets
embroidered detail

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Celebrate National Dance Day!!

"Dance is the hidden language of the soul. "
~Martha Graham


Today is the 2nd annual National Dance Day!! Created to encourage a healthy lifestyle; promote dance education and physical fitness across the U.S. This day inspires,"the nation, young and old, to move!" So wherever you are put on some music, have a good time, and Just Dance !! :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Historic Chester, NJ

Brick Tavern 
Historic Chester, NJ
watercolor and prismacolor fine line marker
3.5" x 11"
A watercolor of the Brick Tavern building in Chester, NJ. "Built in 1810 by Zephaniah Drake, this beautiful brick structure served as a hotel and tavern in the heart of Chester. Mr. Drake was a proprietor of the first line of stage coaches, making the tavern a famous Publick House and stagecoach stop between New York and west to Pennsylvania."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bun in the Oven

 A Bun in the Oven
watercolor and colored pencils
8" x 10"

 A little illustration inspired by my brother and his wife, who are expecting their first baby!! The baby is due any day now and the entire family could not be more excited!!!! We are all thinking of you and sending you wishes for a healthy baby and a safe delivery! Love you tons and can't wait to meet this little munchkin'!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day Watercolor

Frelinghuysens' Colonial Revival Mansion
watercolor and dark grey LePen
4" x 6"

A watercolor of a small section from the Frelinghuysens' Colonial Revival Mansion located at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morristown, NJ. Also known as, "New Jersey's premier public garden. The 127 acre tract is well known for its many beautiful gardens and is a center for horticultural education." It is such a serene place to visit! I wish I could've spent all day there and drawn the wonderful colonial architecture of the entire mansion.

Friday, June 24, 2011

NJ SCBWI Illustrator Intensive

 Below is a piece that I painted for an Illustrator Intensive at a recent 
NJSCBWI annual conference. We were given the chance to work with an art director who
gave us two manuscript to read through. We then chose a passage from one of those manuscripts to illustrate. The text that I chose was from a book entitled When I Grow Up by Al Yankovic. 
A wonderful book that is already published by Harper Collins.
Below are some stages of sketches as well as the finished double page spread.  The part of the manuscript that I chose to illustrate read as follows: 

"'Cause maybe I'll be a gorilla masseuse 
Or an artist who sculpts out of chocolate mousse
Or a rodeo clown or a great film director
Or maybe professional pickle inspector
Or big sumo wrestler or hedge fund investor 
Or smelly pit-sniffing deodorant tester."


Initial sketch

Sketch with corrections

Final Double Page Spread
watercolor, acrylic, and colored pencil
9 1/2 x 22 3/4

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New Illustration and Self-Promotion Postcards



Above are some new self-promotion postcards that I designed, featuring a new illustration of my little odd-sock monster. Below is a closer look at the painting.
If you've ever wondered where those missing socks go, perhaps one of these little creepy guys is taking them :)

The Odd-Sock Monster
11"x 23"
 watercolor, acrylic, and colored pencil

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Book Signing at BEA 2011!!

It's time again for BookExpo America 2011!  I will be signing Mr. Groundhog Wants the Day Off books at this years book expo, held at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York, NY.
  BookExpo America (BEA) is North America’s largest gathering of book trade professionals.
If you're at the expo stop by and get a signed book! :) 
Autographing information is shown below.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New art supplies!

For my birthday I received a great present that included a cute 4x6 inch Canson watercolor block and Derwent Aquatone solid watercolor sticks. Of course as any artist with new art supplies I couldn't wait to try them out. I decided to paint a little portrait of one of my favorite pictures of Johnny Cash :) I used an Aquash Japanese Water Brush, it has a body which can be filled up with water and flows out to the nylon brush tip when squeezed. To get some of the areas darker I used a sepia Prismacolor fine line marker. I enjoyed doing this little study and trying out the new watercolor sticks. A great little set of supplies to have if you're a traveling artist and don't want to mess around with a watercolor box!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Illustrator Saturday on Kathy Temean Blog

Every Saturday the wonderful Kathy Temean features an illustrator on her blog and shows off their talents.  This Saturday I was honored to be one of those illustrators. Click on the image below to visit  Kathy's blog and see her Illustrator Saturday post.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

2nd Place in Logo Contest!!!

I found out yesterday that my logo for the annual NJSCBWI conference won 2nd place and will be printed on the bags going to all the attendees!! Below is a sneak peek of the bag from Kathy Temean's blog. Visit her blog here to see other winning logos.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Saucer Magnolia Flowers

Magnolia flowers
 8.5"x 12"
 colored pencils on toned paper
A small drawing of a Saucer Magnolia tree. These beautiful and enormous flowers don't last very long but seeing one of these trees in full bloom is truly incredible.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Charcoal Portrait

9"x 12"
black and white charcoal pencil on charcoal paper

Not too long ago I found out about a great portrait artist named David Jon Kassan. I was really inspired by his great charcoal portrait drawings and decided to try it myself. I hadn't worked with charcoal since college and something about the messy medium caused me to stay away from it all this time. After drawing this little portrait it turned out that there's something I really enjoyed about blocking in tones and being able to pick out the highlights. Click here to visit David's website and see some of his amazing work!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Vote for the SCBWI Crystal Kite Awards!

If you're a member of the SCBWI don't forget to vote for the Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards! Round 1 of voting is underway now until March 15th! 
"The Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards will be given annually for best book as chosen by the members of each SCBWI Regional Division beginning in 2011 for first-run books published during the 2010 calendar year. "

Friday, February 18, 2011

Valentine's Day figure drawing


colored pencil on toned paper
10" x12"
Above is a drawing from a Valentine's Day figure drawing session. It was the first time that I've been to a class where there were two models posing. They were wonderful models and made for an interesting drawing.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Groundhog Day!!!

Well, It's Groundhog Day and Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow predicting an early spring!
Of course Groundhog Day also means that this blog post will be about my book Mr. Groundhog Wants The Day Off. 

I decided to share a few images on how one of the double page spreads developed from concept to final painting. If you'd like to buy the book just click here and visit the Rave Tree Press website. Order a book and while you're there click on the Activity Sheet link and download some Groundhog Day history; fun activities; a coloring page; and a fun smoothie recipe for the kids!! Enjoy!

original concept sketch

 final sketch
with text

original paintings

final book spread with text

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Ungainly Grace"

 Ballpoint pen
 4" X 6"
 Above is a sketch I did a while back from a National Geographic article and have always wanted to share it. 
I'm a sucker for good writing and loved the article written by Mel White. It inspired me to do this little sketch 
and made me look at this unique creature in a different way. Hope it does the same for you. :) 
 "The pelican inspires laughter and wonder, and, maybe even more, a kind of affectionate empathy: After all, who among us hasn't at times felt awkward and unlovely, and yet imagined that - given room to stretch our wings - we just might be beautiful."~Mel White
You can read Mel's article here.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Soul of a Tree

"There is no such thing as a great talent without great willpower."
~Honore de Balzac

I'm back after neglecting my blog for a while. Below is a little drawing of a tree that I always notice outside my window. It looks like such a character and I enjoy seeing its changes every season. Yesterday I noticed he looked extra grumpy as the snow piled up on top.

The Soul of a Tree
Colored Pencil on Toned Paper

The phenomenon of seeing faces or shapes like this has been explained as

Apophenia, which "is the experience of seeing meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data."
If you'd like to see some wonderful examples visit this blog post by James Gurney.